I think it's a mom thing. Every child's birthday that comes around takes us down memory lane of the first day we ever laid eyes on our baby. I still do it with our oldest and we've celebrated six birthdays with her. So this week wasn't any different. I sat this afternoon and poured out to a friend every detail of Zekey's birth story... my nauseousness the night before--wondering if I was crazy or if I was REALLY going to have a baby a week before my due date; our dog running away and me hauling two small children around the neighborhood with a leash in hand, knocking on doors trying to hunt him down; my water breaking in the garage and my only concern being that my husband finish vacuuming out the car before we left for the hospital because I couldn't do it myself. I remember it all plain as day, and I'm hopeful I always will. Because it's the little moments leading up to the big moments that encompassed what now feels like one of the shortest windows in my life...my sweet Ezekiel James.
The only difference about this birthday is that my walk down memory lane didn't end with me squeezing my baby and whispering in his ear to stop growing so fast before I laid him down to sleep. Instead of watching him toddle around, I spotted strangers' babies and tried guessing how old they were in my head. I've dreaded this day for a long time. A long, long time. I read in a grief book that milestones can be so hard, but to remember that they're only 24 hours and eventually the 24 hours will be over and it'll be a new day. Unfortunately it felt like the seven days of 24 hours leading up to these 24 hours were actually the hardest. My arms want him to be here. My ears long for his voice and my heart, my heart will never be the same.
So last night as Matt and I laid in bed, we scrolled through every picture of Zekey boy that we have on our phones. We watched every video with his coos and cries and we cried. We cried and we cried and we cried, just like we did every night this week that led up to this one. And then, then I had this overwhelming feeling of peace. Peace. I knew in my heart that as badly as I want my boy back, my life has changed and having him back wouldn't be the exact same life, plus him. It would be different altogether. I wouldn't have these eyes. These eyes that see things differently. These eyes that ache for eternity, for the life we were truly created for. And that peace, that peace gave me this overwhelming feeling that I could still celebrate my boy today because he is still alive. He's more alive than I am and his short little life is still worth celebrating. He's changed me and he's changed lots and lots of other people and even though it was short, his life has served, not just served, but completed its purpose just as much as if he had 89 birthdays before he died.
I love you, Zekey boy. I would say, I love you more than you will ever know, like I always tell your brother and sister, but you're whole already, completely WHOLE, so maybe you actually do know how much I love you?!?! It's a LOT.